Longford Town 1 Shamrock Rovers 3
Damien Duff was named on the Shamrock Rovers bench as Danny North scored two well-taken goals to sink Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium.
Ahead of his official unveiling at a press conference today, Duff did a long warm up on the sidelines, but wasn’t brought on. The 100-times capped winger is now likely to make his Rovers’ debut in Monday’s clash with Cork City at Tallaght Stadium.
Rovers started brightly, running up a 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes. Mikey Drennan sent them on their way three minutes in, tapping home the rebound after Paul Hunt had parried his penalty after its harsh awarding for Martin Deady's challenge on Gavin Brennan.
Poor defending by Longford then gifted Rovers their second goal ten minutes later. North took the ball around Hunt before showing excellent composure to calmly shoot home despite the presence of a defender.
Longford battled back to score on 26 minutes. Pat Sullivan’s corner was only partially cleared. A shot from Kevin O’Connor then pin-balled around the box before Lorcan Shannon forced it home.
In an open game, Rovers’ Gary McCabe blasted wide on 36 minutes before Longford finished the half strongly.
Though Longford pressed hard for an equaliser on the resumption, they fell two goals behind again to a wonderful Rovers counterattack on 58 minutes. Drennan threaded a delightful through ball for the run of North who confidently slipped the ball past Hunt.
Longford Town: Hunt; Sullivan, Gorman, Powell, Deady; Shannon (Cowan, 67), O'Connor, Gannon (O'Sullivan, 67), Ben Mohamed (Simon, 76); Rice;, Shaw.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Madden, Kenna, Webster, Byrne; G. Brennan, McCabe, Blanchard, Miele; North (McCaffrey, 81), Drennan.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).